We are often asked at The Belgravia Centre whether smoking cigarettes causes hair loss.
Several studies have been undertaken to try and answer this question, but as yet no solid evidence has emerged that suggests a causal link between a smoking habit and the development of a hair loss condition.
Hair loss study in Taiwan
A 2007 study was conducted on 740 Taiwanese males who were already suffering from hair loss. Subjects of the study, led by Lin-Hui Su of the Far Eastern Memorial Hospital and Tony Hsiu-Hsi Chen of National Taiwan University, were tested in relation to family history as well as dietary habits.
Some correlation was found between smoking and hair loss. Dr. Su noted “significant positive associations between moderate or severe Androgenic Alopecia [baldness] and smoking status, current smoking of 20 cigarettes or more per day and smoking intensity.”
Theories about smoking and hair loss
The theory about why smoking could cause hair loss is that nicotine and carbon monoxide – substances found in cigarettes – restrict the flow of blood and oxygen to the body’s extremities, including the hair follicles, which go into their telegone (dormant) phase. The hair lacks nourishment and, as a result, starts falling away from the scalp.
This is by no means the only theory as to how smoking could influence hair loss: an alternative explanation is that smoking can damage hair follicles’ DNA, causing the hair to fall out.
Another theory suggests that the negative effects of smoking on the body, premature ageing for example, can in fact accelerate the process of hair loss, which is in itself a side-effect of ageing. Just as the skin can experience early on-set wrinkles and discolouration, premature ageing also leads to hair thinning and falling out.
The most likely causes of hair loss
If hair loss runs in the family, it is more likely to be the cause than smoking. It’s possible that some individuals confuse genetic baldness with the effects of smoking.
Genetic baldness in men occurs when male hormones within hair follicles are converted into the androgen DHT (dihydrotestosterone). DHT causes follicles to shrink with each growth stage and suppress the growth of new hair cells. This is a direct result of genetic hair loss and cannot arise from a smoking habit.
Experiencing hair loss could indicate a more serious medical condition, regardless of whether someone is a smoker. If an individual is suffering from premature hair loss, yet has no family history of baldness, it is wise to investigate possible causes.
How The Belgravia Centre can help
The Belgravia Centre is the UK’s leading hair loss clinic. Our team of experienced hair loss experts regularly deal with a range of hair loss conditions and successfully help people stabilise hair loss and re-grow their hair.
Our hair loss treatment programmes are holistic. We work with our clients to understand as far as possible the causes of their hair loss, and then we tailor a bespoke treatment programme. Propecia and Minoxidil have been scientifically proven to work in the treatment of Genetic Hair Loss. We use these in conjunction with our own hair loss products, including nutritional hair supplements, to stimulate hair growth. All of our clients are closely and carefully monitored, to make sure they are getting the results they desire. Have a look at our success stories for examples of the results we’ve achieved for our hair loss clients.